images of home are really comforting to me. i'm a cancer, which allows me to be a homebody. i like to travel and see new places, but i'm always happy to be on my way home. home gives me strength, fortitude. we bought our first house two years ago and have been slowly making it our own. when we began our search for a new home, house imagery started showing up everywhere in my artwork. it doesn't bother me that the images are popular now, because they really speak to me and that's what's important. i don't just use houses to keep up with the joneses.
i began making this book at art and soul in may. i took the branches from outside the room in which i was teaching. thomas mann made the small bird charm, which is encased in resin. this book belongs to a friend for which bird imagery is paramount. also not keeping up with the trends, they just speak to her.
i bound the book on tapes and cased the text block into the polymer covers. i also sewed the headbands by hand with lovely orange and green silk thread. the thread is so nice to handle.
we have really had a lot of bad weather. i have mentioned how much rain we've been having, but the other day brought wind as well. our pussy willow tree spread apart like the peel of a banana. it doesn't really look to bad at a distance, but you can see it laying on the neighbor's house to the left.
upon closer observation, the trunks are all askew. they used to stand straight up.
and here is the base of the tree.
it's leaning on our house too, but fortunately there doesn't seem to be damage to either house.
we have to wait a few days until the insurance adjuster comes before we can move anything. the insurance said they're really busy. we took a little tour of our neighborhood and there are a lot of trees down. at one house a tree fell on a wrought iron fence and bent the whole fence.
after that last post i thought we needed a spot of sunshine. that's the tentative title for this acrylic-on-board book. chicago also needs some sunshine. it's rained every day here for about 10 days, maybe more. we're just not used to this!
i bought a light tent yesterday! my friend tau recommended it, otherwise i probably wouldn't have bought it. i can't wait to see how it works. i think i will set it up with my ott light, and now i have an excuse to buy another ott light. i think i will need three light sources, one at the top and one at either side.
my friend francine came and visited yesterday. she took a look at all the books i've been making and was a great help with critiques. i can't say enough good things about her. it was a great visit. she's going to help me out in portland when i teach and vend at art and soul. i have three classes. the objects of your affection centers on an accordian structure with fun inserts, plus an assemblage box. in all boxed up we'll make a series of boxes in boxes. and the coptic assemblage is a combination coptic book and assemblage structure. i have to get going to make more class samples and refine my instructions.
then black despair the shadow of a starless night, was thrown over the world in which i moved alone.
sometimes it's like that. but since these words are on a rubber stamp, i figure it's not just me.
acrylic paint was used to decorate binders board for this book. i've been having a lot of fun playing with paint. i gathered together a bunch of technique books and made samples of all the projects i liked. i've also been experimenting with different media on polymer surfaces. this book is about 8 x 5 and sewed with the paired needle coptic stitch. again, the colors are not quite right since i took this picture on my workspace. i must make a light box!
here's a new book before baking. it's still raining so i took this picture at my workspace. it's hard to see how cool the contrast between the chartreuse dots and purple background look. this one needs a back cover and several more steps before i can bind it. wouldn't you want to linger in this bright landscape?
it's very dreary here. we've had at least a week of rain and everything is pretty damp. my flowers love it though.
i'm itching to use resin. i bought a bunch of bezels on ebay and i predict wee compositions in resin will be showing up in my work soon.
the other day i got rid of all my scrap clay. what a relief. i mushed it all up and made green. a while back polyform discontinued their one pound blocks of certain colors of premo. our guild was the recipient of the extra stock. i was only lucky enough to get fluorescent green. bright. really bright. but mixed up with my scrap clay it turned all different shades of green. i threw some fluorescent yellow into a few batches for good measure.
this is the kind of job you can only do in the summer when it's warm. working with older clay in the winter is a very bad idea. also, the pasta machine motor was invaluable. i can't imagine doing all that mixing by hand. now i'm thinking of mushing up my older canes, which crack whenever i try to use them. someone told me you could keep these for a very long time, but i haven't had very good experience with that.
i made some more book covers today, trying out some new styles. i think i prefer my old styles! so i'm going to focus on the tried and true for a little while, at least until i really get back into the swing of things.
this is my messy workspace and my languishing books. some needed end papers, some headbands, some a bit of crazy glue for rusty bits. i'm happy to say i've finished nearly all of that. i ran out of burnt orange waxed linen so there is one more headband to sew when i replenish. other than that...done!
the circular object on top of the orange book (chai meditation) is some sort of weight. i had just glued end papers in this book. i really should have used a brick for the weight so it would be more evenly distributed, but it all worked out ok in the end.
i also made some pens and awls. you can see in the lower right of the picture, next to the pencil, one of my personal tools. i cover my exacto knives and awls with translucent canes. i cover papermate pens as well. the pens come with a nice metal tip which you can unscrew and then you can replace the ink barrel. i'm not a big fan of making the pens because they require a lot of sanding and buffing to make them look nice. but they come at a nice price point and i always sell a lot of them. so there you have it.
today i made one cute and one hideously ugly book cover. fortunately i realized the error of my ways before i baked the ugly cover. i can just mix that clay back up and use the lovely green i created for another project. i always try different color combinations and different techniques, but keep coming back to my artifact line of books. i really love how they look and other people seem to like them as well. dear leslie has collected two of them. here's her latest purchase, "dragonfly bell." now there is only ONE book in my etsy shop. it's a good thing i have more energy today. it's time to restock!
i just thought i'd let you know i'm ok. well, not totally ok, i've been sick for 4 months now. my books are languishing, my etsy store has just two offerings and i'm afraid that some deals i've had in the works will fall through. i don't know what to do to get past this ennui. i'm trying everything i can think of. i've just had some coffee in hopes it helps a bit. but i thought writing might make me feel a bit more motivated.
let me tell you about tea. i rarely drink coffee in the morning, despite what i just wrote. and even then it is preceded by tea. i adore tea. when i used to visit my grandma (who i miss very much), the first thing she would do was put on the kettle. there was always irish soda bread waiting for us to eat with our tea. my mom always said her own irish soda bread was better than her mom's, and i do have to agree. but it was lovely to be greeted with the tea and bread after making the trek from nj down to the bronx. so began my love affair with tea.
i've gone through many tea phases. at first it was dreary lipton. that's what my mom and grandma always had. one bag of tea per customer and one for the pot. always begin with cold water. once i used warm and grandma actually called me an "ignoramus!" then after a trip to ireland, it was barry's tea, the tea of my grandma's family. i've always enjoyed it with milk and sugar. after a while i drifted to earl grey. i couldn't get enough of the stuff. every morning i began my day with the earl, milk and sugar. i'd slip back into irish breakfast occasionally. i loved the tins of twinings tea. no tea ball. grandma said that was for sissies. just brew the loose tea in the pot and most of it settles before you pour. of course you have to stir the pot before the settling and then pour yourself a cup. my grandpa used to visit my mom during the day when i was an only child and she was first married (there are four of us siblings now). he bought her a special wee pot for just the two of them. my grandparents pots were the traditional tin ones of ireland. i have my own and also the wee one from my grandpa.
after some time i discovered chai. my favorite was the one from tazo tea. loose, not bags. i don't remember how i started on that but it all changed once i visited my friend's indian family. mrs. godhwani made chai for everyone in the morning. ah the flavor! also with milk and sugar. no lemon for this girl. after a long while our friend gave me the secret ingredient, a mysterious powder to add to every cup. his mother would grind some up for him and send him home with it. he gave me a wee bit, just a tad because his wife loved it also. then after another long while his brother told me the secret. the mysterious powder was just ground up cardamom! freshly ground. my coffee grinder had a new purpose. i went to devon street, which is the large indian neighborhood of chicago. other ethnicities find their home up and down the street, but devon and rockwell is nirvana. but back to tea....
i purchased indian tea on devon. it almost looks like instant coffee, not like the tea leaves i was used to. but it tastes divine. nice and strong. it's part of my current ritual. i've switched to buying the ground cardamom and i'm happy to say it's just as good. all that grinding was making me lose my patience. i now have a bee house tea pot with a built in strainer. i hope grandma wouldn't be too disappointed. i also have an electric kettle because i kept burning all those regular kettles with the whistles. i would always get distracted. my husband thought the auto-off feature would be great for me, and he was right.
so, every morning i put COLD water in the electric kettle, fill my bee house filter with indian tea and wait for it to brew. i have two cups with about 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom, 1 tsp of organic sugar and a dollop of vanilla soy milk. absolute heaven.